The 10 Best Massage Pillows
10. Liteaid Lumbar LA-177
9. Comfort Products Lumbar Cushion
8. Brookstone Buzzy Orb
7. Relaxzen 60-2910P
6. 1byone Shiatsu
5. Gideon 3D Full Back
4. HoMedics Shiatsu Plus SP-25H
3. M Cushion Ultimate Comfort
2. Zyllion ZMA13 Shiatsu
1. Naipo Neck and Shoulder
How Do I Choose a Proper Massage Pillow For Me?
The first thing any person needs to consider whenever shopping for a massage pillow is what exactly they plan on using that pillow for. A lot of run-of-the-mill massage pillows can ease tension, whereas a superior pillow has numerous settings, some of which are geared toward alleviating chronic symptoms associated with lumbar pressure, sciatica, and other back-related pain.
Certain massage pillows are even capable of offering a specific type of massage, like, say, shiatsu. Shiatsu is a Japanese form of pressure therapy that's been proven to ease headaches, stiffness, anxiety, insomnia, lower-back pain, and certain digestive disorders (among other things). The point being that if you've benefited from a systematic style of massage, it may be worth pursuing a therapeutic pillow that can provide a fairly similar approach.
Beyond that, you'll want to consider where you plan on placing a massage pillow. If you plan on placing a pillow on your car seat or an office chair, for example, you'll need a model that's compact, and will not force you to lean forward. If you plan on placing a pillow in a specific room, you'll want a model that matches that room's decor. If you'd like to take a massage pillow with you during business trips, it's best to choose a lightweight model (i.e., less than 3 lbs) so that you can check it in with your carry-on luggage. Be sure to confirm that any travel pillow can be operated by way of battery power, given that you plan on using it outside the home.
How to Create a Relaxing Atmosphere Inside Your Home
In order to fully enjoy the benefits of a massage pillow, you'll want to set up an atmosphere that feels welcoming, free of distraction, and warm. The first step should be choosing a space that appears sedate, preferably with muted tones. You may want to spray this space with some antiseptic, and you may also want to dim the lights, and light a candle. Professional masseuses tend to use scented candles, including selections like sandalwood, lavender jasmine, or rose.
Once you've created a tranquil setting, determine whether you'd like to adjust the thermostat or open a window. If you live in a busy area, you may want to keep your windows closed to avoid being distracted by any white noise. If you own curtains or blinds, it is important to draw these, as passing shadows or piercing sunlight could prove distracting to your cause.
If you prefer to listen to ambient music during a massage, it may help to create a playlist so you don't need to hit stop or fast forward. You may also want to stream your music via a laptop or a docking station, as opposed to being tethered to any handheld player, or its cord.
As a precaution, make sure to power down your phone and any other digital devices prior to the start of a massage session. It becomes increasingly difficult not to be distracted, if not disrupted, by the ping of an email, or the buzz of a phone.
A Brief History of Massage
The earliest evidence of massage comes by way of ancient cave drawings, and similar etchings. Subsequent records confirm that massage was practiced as a means of pain relief (particularly for soldiers) throughout Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, China, Japan, India, Rome, and Greece.
During the 3rd Century BCE, the Chinese compiled a printed history of their medical practices known as the Huangdi Neijing (a.k.a. "The Emperor's Inner Canon"). This text included more than three dozen references to back, foot, neck, and body massage, with the majority of these references recommending massage as an effective means of alleviating pain.
It was during this period that an Indian guru named Shivago Komarpaj devised a holistic regimen of treatments based on acupuncture, reflex mechanics, muscle development, acupressure, and early forms of yoga. Komarpaj's research and methodology gained widespread acclaim after he began to treat the Buddha. Soon after, Komarpaj was credited with developing what we now refer to as Thai massage.
In 581 CE, China instated massage therapy as an aspect of its imperial curriculum, meaning that massage would be studied, performed, and prescribed by medical students and licensed physicians throughout that country and its surrounding regions. A century later, the European elite began to employ massage as an entitled form of stress relief and repose.
During the 1800s, a Swedish gym instructor named Pehr Henrik Ling developed his own form of massage based on relaxing, and then re-energizing, the body's upper-most layer of soft tissue. Ling's methods became so renowned among therapists, professional trainers, and coaches that by the end of the 19th century, the term Swedish Massage had been born.
Today, massage is more popular than it has ever been. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumers spend $6 billion a year on massage products and services in the United States alone.